Employee of the Month
After watching “Employee of the Month,” it was clear to see that there were two main issues. These issues were motivation and ethics and they both came up throughout the entire movie. It was almost immediately shown that moviation was an issue at the Super Club (where they all work) with almost all of the employees, each seemingly being motivated in a different manor. Since the main protagonist of the movie was Zack (played by Dane Cook), an in-depth look at how his motivation changes throughout the movie would be a great comparison to the real life problems of motivation that employers face.
The best way to understand Zack’s styles of motivation would be to look at them through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy states that people have five basic types of needs: physiological, security, affiliation, esteem, and self-actualization. Through the accomplishment of these, a person would be able to work their way up the hierarchy and eventually come to the point at which they are maximizing their personal achievement with self-actualization. When looking at how this applies to Zack, it is clear that he was not at the top of the hierarchy at the beginning of this movie, and it is only through many different events and realizations that he begins to achieve what he is personally capable of.
As the movie starts, Zack seems to be somewhere between the stages of affiliation and esteem. It seems that he is finding the physiological, security, and most likely also the affiliation needs all achieved, but that is where it seems to stop. The physiological needs, which include basic survival needs such as food, water, air, and shelter, are all being provided as he has a home to go to and seems to be fairly well nourished throughout the film. The next stage, the security needs, also seem to be satisfied. Being able to live with his grandmother and not engaging in any kind of dangerous activities seems to prevent him from being in danger of any pain or life-threatening situations. This leads him to the affiliation stage, which seems to be the last stage of the hierarchy that he has satisfied at the beginning of the movie. Affiliation needs are those that involve being loved, and having friendship, both of which Zack seem to have. Again, living with his grandmother seems to fulfill the part of being loved, as they have a very good relationship. Along with that, his close group of friends at work seem to fulfill the part of having friendship, as he is seen constantly talking to them and hanging out with them. However, this seems to be the extent of what he has fulfilled at the start of this film. The next stage in the hierarchy is the esteem stage. Esteem focuses on respect, recognition from others, and feelings of self-worth. It seems apparent that other that his close friends, there aren’t many people that truly recognize Zack and probably even less that actually have respect for him. Therefore, though it seems that he is content with his position at the beginning, he is not actually happy about where he is at and doesn’t have the feelings of self-worth that come with achieving the esteem stage of the hierarchy. This, however, soon begins to change with the arrival of a new cashier, Amy. When she transfers to the store, Zack suddenly has a reason to achieve a higher stage, both with a challenge against the lead cashier (Vince) and also challenging himself that he can become the employee of the month. During this competition with Vince, Zack begins to focus more on being recognized by others for the work that he does, begins to be respected by both his peers and his supervisors, and finally starts to have a sense of self-worth because he is able to compete with the reigning 17 time employee of the month. This is probably the longest stage throughout the movie, leading to many changes in both his behavior and his relationships with his friends and his enemies....
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